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The Testament of Gideon Mack [Kindle Edition]

James Robertson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.35 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

If the devil didn�t exist, would man have to invent him?

For Gideon Mack, faithless minister, unfaithful husband and troubled soul, the existence of God, let alone the Devil, is no more credible than that of ghosts or fairies. Until the day he falls into a gorge and is rescued by someone who might just be Satan himself.

Mack's testament is a compelling blend of memoir, legend, history and, quite probably, madness and recounts one man's emotional crisis, disappearance, resurrection and death. It also transports you into an utterly mesmerising exploration of the very nature of belief.


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Product Description

Review

'A superb piece of Scottish Gothic’ -- The Times

'Overwhelmingly compassionate and thought-provoking' -- Irvine Welsh, The Guardian

‘A work of the highest literary quality' -- Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

In James Robertson, Scotland has a writer of the highest literary quality and cultural acuity. He recently served as the Scottish Parliament's first Writer in Residence and his second novel, Joseph Knight, won the two major Scottish literary prizes in 2003 /4 -- the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year. He has published two novels, stories, poetry, anthologies, compiled a Scottish Dictionary of Quotations and is also editor of an educational Scots imprint. James lives in Angus.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 609 KB
  • Print Length: 399 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0143113194
  • Publisher: Penguin (18 Jan. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014102335X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141023359
  • ASIN: B002RI956S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,167 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstandingly good book 6 Feb. 2007
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an outstandingly good book - with the pun fully intended.

The novel takes the form of a manuscript written by fallen Church of Scotland priest, Gideon Mack, before his death on Ben Alder. The manuscript is topped by an introduction from the publisher and tailed by some notes by a freelance journalist.

It is clear from the beginning that Gideon Mack has fallen into the Keldo Water, met the devil and fallen out with the Church. The manuscript forms his life story, setting out his relationships with his family and his friends; how he came to be a Minister in the first place; his non-relationship with God; and his encounter with the Devil. For a Minister, Gideon Mack is a live wire - he doesn't believe in God; he runs marathons; he has difficult personal relationships; and he appears to enjoy the company of eccentrics and atheists. Gideon Mack is a fallible human being whose calling is little more than a job of work - but one that he is prepared to undertake with gusto despite his lack of belief.

Gideon has had his fair share of misfortune - a severe father who was also a Minister, a marriage to Jenny when he really wanted Jenny's friend Elsie, widowed at a young age and lacking real direction. But he has apparently soldiered on and, but for a momentary lapse with Elsie, has led a broadly virtuous life. Then weird things start happening - kicked off by the sudden appearance of a standing stone in the woods. As Gideon becomes more troubled by the stone, so his life starts to crumble. It all moves inexorably towards the meeting with the Devil, who is not at all as one might expect.

The detailing is beautiful and, even though the direction is hardly a mystery, the journey towards the known destination is compelling.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An absolute delight 31 Mar. 2007
Format:Hardcover
"If the devil didn't exist, would man have to invent him?" Rarely is a cliché used with such dexterous panache as in James Robertson's novel of a Minister who meets the devil and returns to tell his tale. From page one the reader is taken on a journey into the Scottish Highlands where the conjunction between myth, legend and reality produces a startlingly readable fable about the absence of certainty. Gideon Mack, self confessed "charlatan, hypocrite [and] God's grovelling apologist", falls into a ravine trying to save a dog and is presumed dead, only to emerge three days later claiming he has met with the devil. This is his testament: from staunch Calvinist upbringing through Liberal student life, to uncertain, unfulfilled middle age. And then what? That is for you to decide.

I loved this novel, would go as far as to say it is the best new novel I have read since Kazuo Ishiguro's `Never Let Me Go' almost two years ago. It is a sumptuous tale whose resonance will continue to echo for months to come. There is so much to interest the reader: the duplicity and perspicacity of each of the characters brings Monimaskit to life in a startlingly intricate small-town way; there is subtlety of plot which questions everything but discounts and answers nothing; major themes of modern life are discussed without simplifying or lecturing; and each and every one of the characters is ultimately extremely likeable. I felt present throughout, viewing events through Gideon Mack's eyes without any idea whether my viewpoint was revelatory or insane.

There will be few novels written in the next decade which treat religion in the twenty-first century with the subtlety of James Robertson.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the Devil 30 Jan. 2007
By Gregory S. Buzwell VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Gideon Mack's life is full of contradictions: he's a Church of Scotland minister, and yet he doesn't believe in God; he loves his wife Jenny, but not as much as he loves his wife's best friend Elsie; he does good works, runs marathons for charity and is there for those who need him in his church capacity, and yet he ultimately finds his existence somehow hollow and bereft of purpose. And then, while trying to rescue a friend's dog, he plunges into a deep ravine and is, or so he later claims, saved from drowning by the Devil.

James Robertson has written a fascinating novel, one that weaves folklore and the supernatural in with issues of possible mental illness, deep questions of what it means to believe in God and what it means to live a good life. On the surface it sounds a little heavy, but trust me, the excellent plot and well-drawn characters make this an absolute joy to read. It's clever, witty (there's a fabulous passage in which the Devil explains why he is particularly fond of Scotland), entertaining, thought-provoking and ultmately very moving. Gideon's life is given a lot of depth: a lonely childhood with a father who was feared rather than loved and a mother too meek to intervene on his behalf, followed by an escape from authority at university, love (and unrequited love) and, even allowing for his lack of belief, a worthwhile career in the Church.

His worthy but slightly purposeless existence is altered beyond all recognition however by his near fatal accident.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
Dull and predictable. I didn't like any of the characters and didn't really care what happened to them. Because it was a Book Club book, I ploughed through it. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Art
5.0 out of 5 stars enthralling
I loved the way the folk legend of the devil was brought to the current day. The narrative was gripping. It brought back all the spooky feelings from the woods at Evanton.
Published 18 days ago by Rosie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 3 months ago by sarah
4.0 out of 5 stars It is not Jonathan Morgan who purchased the book but ...
It is not Jonathan Morgan who purchased the book but Stephy Morgan
Published 6 months ago by Jonathan Morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good book but not the page turner i was expecting
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Sheila Buchanan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Had to buy for son's English project.
Published 8 months ago by MRS P
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very thought-provoking and original.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing
Wasn't sure whether I was going to like this or not - and I'm not sure that question was answered by the time I got to the end, but I couldn't stop reading it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Elizabeth locke
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
I loved this book. It's a great story but it just so reminds me of the kirk in Scotland, where I grew up. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Deb
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend, fantastic novel.
Highly recommend this book! Enjoyed the writing style and the storyline. This was a book club book and generated great discussions, it was also our highest scoring book so far this... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sammy's mum
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